To be able to utterly captivate a crowd with your stage presence while barely uttering a single syllable between songs is a talent in and of itself, and it’s one that Father John Misty proved he has in abundance at the Orpheum in Vancouver on Tuesday night.
The Indie singer/song-writer/all round top lad, (real name: Josh Tillman) now twice risen from the ashes, is continuing his North American tour off the back of his second studio album ‘I Love You, Honeybear‘. The record is an easy pick as one of the best of 2015, and can be credited with making the listener feel a lot of feelings. Mostly of cynicism.
Tuesday night’s congregation consisted mostly of beards, man buns, and skinny trousers, as what I can only assume was the Commercial Drive community made their way to Downtown for the gig. You could be forgiven for not knowing whether the haze that filled the theatre was the result of a smoke machine, or just from the sheer volume of people smoking spliffs inside.
If Josh Tillman’s intention was to give his fans chills from the opening note, it was one that was well executed, as he began his set with ‘Everyman Needs a Companion‘, bringing the crowd out of their seats and to their feet to sway in half-drunk procession immediately.
When a large part of an artist’s portfolio is mellow tunes, it can be difficult to maintain a crowd’s concentration, let alone their quiet, but this was never an issue for the former Fleet Foxes drummer. In spite of his genre, Father John Misty’s performance exudes energy, as he dives around the stage during more up-beat songs; at one point flinging a guitar through the air for a techie waiting in the shadows to catch.
Anyone familiar with the bearded beauty will know that his words are poetry, and he has no qualms about social commentary. His performance of ‘Bored in the USA’, the satirical anthem of the privileged, middle-class, white American male, is a definite highlight of the show. The song would be incomplete without the laughter track that accompanies it – something that the audience were only too happy to provide.
Unlike a good mass, the 90-minute show flew by in an instant, with the ceremony coming to a crescendo with a cover of The Beatles ‘Revolution’, as part of a three-song encore.
Make no argument about it, Josh Tillman has charisma for days and every hoop I had to jump through to get tickets to this Vancouver show was worth it just to spend an evening in his presence.